Content Note: Suicide
Matthias, Johannes, Stefan and David are brothers. There used to be a fifth one, Jakob, but he killed himself. Now the four remaining brothers are on a hiking trip together in the mountains where Jakob always felt at home. They use it as both a chance to talk about Jakob and to get closer to each other again.
Bruder Jakob, schläfst du noch is a touching documentary and a gift from the filmmakers to share their very private process of grieving with the world. It’s beautiful.
Grieving is a difficult process and it gets more complicated still when you have to somehow account for the fact that somebody chose their own death. If you can call a suicide out of depression a choice, that is. Bruder Jakob lets the audience into the grief of the brothers who are still alive.
And it smartly focuses on that grief and not the suicide. Of course, the question of why is there and they to try to figure out how Jakob was living before he killed himself, but they know about the futility of the question. So the film focuses on the four alive brothers instead, keeping the suicide in the corner of its eyes.
And it really is the heart of the film to watch the four of them not only reflect on their brother and their childhood (including photo and video material we also get to see) and their relationships with him, but also their relationships with each other – and grow closer again themselves as a result.
The film shows such honesty, sensitivity and frank emotionality, it really feels like a gift to watch it, especially because it focuses on men in that way. (And how often did I think that they are such boys with each other!) Simply wonderful.
Summarizing: Special and touching.